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342                  HISTORY OF PERSIA                 CHAP.
in the name of Shah Tahmasp, whose service Nadir after-
wards entered.
His Dreams.—The ambitions of the Afshar chief were
already fully developed, and he dreamed a dream, in which
he caught a fish with four horns, indicating the conquest
of four kingdoms. He also dreamed that Ali girded him
with a sword, calling upon him to save Persia and promis-
ing him the throne.
The Capture of Meshed and the Execution of Malik
Mahmud.—The capture of Meshed was a great service
rendered by Nadir to the Safavi dynasty. There was
much skirmishing, and he was successful in a battle, but
Meshed was not to be won by these means. Treachery
aided the fortunate Afshar, who gained an entrance into
the heart of the city by the surrender of a gate. Malik
Mahmud fought desperately, but was defeated, and when
Meshed was taken he gave himself up. At first he was
permitted to occupy a dervish's cell in the shrine, but as
he became a centre of intrigues he was put to death by
Nadir's orders.
The Reward for the Expulsion of the Afghans.—
Tahmasp had apparently few illusions as to the character
of his great general. His expulsion of the Afghans,
narrated in detail in the last chapter, was however too
signal a service to be rewarded in the ordinary manner,
and the Shah perforce bestowed on him Khorasan, Sistan,
Kerman, and Mazanderan, together with the title of
Sultan. Nadir was too astute to assume the title, but he
struck money in his own name and with it paid his army;
and in the East this is tantamount to an assumption of
sovereignty,
Nadir Kuffs First Turkish Campaign.—After the
extirpation of the Afghan invaders, Nadir Kuli turned
his attention to the Turks. The position, indeed, was
serious, as the whole of Azerbaijan and most of Irak was
in the possession of the Sultan. In fact it was far worse
than the situation which had faced Shah Abbas, who
commanded the entire resources of Persia as its lawful
monarch, whereas Nadir Kuli was hampered * by Shah
Tahmasp. His first campaign was highly successful.